Types of Pillowcases

Types of Pillowcases

Pillowcases serve both practical and aesthetic functions. Slipping a pillowcase on your pillow is a guaranteed way to protect them from stains, dirt, face oil, and let’s face it, the occasional drool. Pillows themselves are essential to keep our posture in line as we sleep so we wake up feeling refreshed. On the other hand, pillowcases also have a decorative function and come in many styles, colors, and sizes to fit the ecosystem of pillows found on your bed.

We’ve made this guide to help you choose what types of pillowcases are best for you to get a good night’s sleep and also make your bed into a beautiful cozy oasis. There are several factors to consider including budget, mattress size, and personal taste. Keep reading to get to know all the different types of pillowcases to make an informed purchase.   


Pillow types

Before we get into the pillowcases, let’s talk about a few different types of pillows on the market and their functions. 



This pillow gets its name because it can be found in nearly every single home. The main feature of the housewife pillow is that one side is stitched closed and the other is open for putting your pillow inside. This style is a standard pillowcase that covers the entire pillow so that it won’t wrinkle, sag, or fall out. Housewife pillows are very cost-effective and are found in almost every bedding department. 


Oxford pillowcases

The plain oxford pillowcase is another type of pillowcase that is a bit fancier than the standard housewife pillow because it has a border around all the sides made with extra fabric. This border is usually around two inches wide and serves as decoration only. If you want your bedding to look extra big and fluffy, get the plain oxford pillowcases because they still fit the standard pillow sizes but the extra border gives them a more prominent appearance. This type can be used as regular pillows but many people like to use oxford pillowcases as decorative shams for their beds.


Nobody has been able to say for sure how these types of pillowcases got their name but there is a theory that the oxford pillowcase was named after the thick material known as Oxford cloth. Nowadays you can find this pillowcase style with a wide variety of fabrics and sizes.


Mock Oxford 

These pillowcases are slightly different from the normal oxford cases. The border of a traditional oxford includes mitered corners meaning that the two edges of the border meet at a 45-degree angle, creating a 90-degree corner. Mock oxford cases do not have this line where the edges are stitched together because the border is made out of one continuous piece of fabric cut into a rectangle or any shape to fill the pillow. 



A body pillow is used to help people that sleep on their side more comfortably. Those who suffer with back pain or are pregnant need to train themselves to sleep on their side. This pillow is long and narrow and is used by cradling it between your legs while you sleep on your side. These are great for improving the alignment of the spine and providing pressure point relief. Body pillows come in a wide variety of shapes including rectangular, cylindrical, U-shaped, and J-shaped.



A boudoir pillow is a small pillow used for decoration. This pillow was first used as an enhancement for the “boudoir” which was the room that served as a private area of rest for an upper-class woman next to her bedroom. These are still used for decoration today and come in a rectangle shape of 11 inches x 18 inches.



This pillow can also be called a euro sham. They use a square pillowcase measuring 25 inches x 25 inches in size. They can come in either housewife or oxford design. Use the continental pillows at the back of your bed near the headboard to rest while reading or watching TV in bed and decorate during the day so that your bed looks like a hotel every day. 



We’ve all woken up with a crick in our necks or a stiff spine but these common sleep issues can be eliminated with the proper pillow. An orthopedic pillow is a pillow designed to correct a person's body position while they are sleeping. This style is created to support both the neck and head while laying down and the lower back while sitting up in bed. These can be used as a primary pillow and can be made of memory foam for extra support. 


What are the standard sizes?

Finding the right arrangement of pillows for your bed is crucial to sleeping well. The normal sizes of pillowcases: are standard size pillows (26 inches x 20 inches),  queen (30 inches x 20 inches), and king (36 inches x 20 inches). Sometimes you can find standard pillowcases which have dimensions of 20 inches x 28 inches. Finally, the body pillow is 20 inches in width but can be over 54 inches long. The size of your mattress, whether you sleep with pets, and any posture concerns you may have will help you choose the right size and number of pillows for your bed. 


Which is better: oxford or housewife pillowcases?

Choosing the right pillowcases for you will depend on your taste and what style of bedding you prefer to have. The housewife pillowcases have a simple, streamlined look while the oxford pillowcases have a beautiful thick border detail that adds a touch of elegance. You can also mix and match these styles with any of the other pillows listed above. For example, place king-sized oxford pillows at the back of the bed to provide support for the back when relaxing in bed sitting up, and then put two housewife pillows in front of them for when it's time to sleep. Don’t forget to add an orthopedic pillow for your neck and a decorative throw pillow to spice up your decor. Plus, you can get different types of pillowcases in a rainbow of colors to add interest to your decor.


Pillowcase closures

Bag style pillowcases

Bag-style pillowcases are some of the most common styles of pillowcases. They are the easiest and lowest maintenance choice it takes very little time to put the pillowcase on and take them off. Bag pillowcases are used as regular pillowcases in the hotel and hospitality industry because housekeepers can change them quickly and not have to worry about poppers, buttons, or interior flaps of a normal housewife pillowcase. 


Envelope Closure

An envelope closure is also known as a sham pillowcase because it creates a “false” front. The backing of pillow backing will have two panels of fabric that overlap so that you can slip the pillow inside creating an envelope-style closure. Sham pillows are commonly used as decorative pillows. They are usually used to provide support when sitting in bed to read or watch TV and as decoration. 


Zippered closure

Zippers are one of the most popular ways of closing fabric on clothes as well as bedding. The zipper can be sewn into the opening of the pillowcase to close it completely. Unfortunately, adding a zipper to the open make the circumstance of the opening smaller so getting the pillow inside may be a bit trickier for some types of pillowcases. Also, if the zipper breaks it can be hard to replace it and you might need to replace the entire pillowcase. Zipper closures can be either exposed or hidden so that you don’t see the metal zip at the edge of the pillow. This type of closure can be uncomfortable if they are not tucked in all the way. 


Velcro closure

Velcro is used for closing for some types of pillowcases by sewing or gluing each piece of velcro to both sides of the opening. If you want the opening of the pillow to look seamless velcro is a good choice. It also makes it easy to open so you can remove the pillow for washing whenever necessary in both pillowcases for sleeping and decorative purposes. Velcro is easy to wash and can be replaced if it starts to lose its grip. Since it's easy to maintain, Velcro is a solid choice for pillowcase fasteners.


Safety pin closure

Safety pins are a great tool if you need to close a pillowcase quickly because of a broken button or a tear in the fabric. Since this is just a temporary fix for a pillow that is falling out of the pillowcase it’s not the most recommended option to close a pillowcase. Also, safety pins can leave holes in the material and can break or open and cause a painful poke.


Button closure

If you want to ensure that the filling won't come out, a classic way to do that is to use buttons. Since there is a space between each button and buttonhole pair they are not as effective as zipper and Velcro and can get unbuttoned. Buttons work best on decorative pillows because they are easy to replace by sewing another one on if one falls off. 


Pillowcase material types

Pillowcase fabrics are as varied as sheets. Between synthetic fabric like satin and natural material like cotton, there are many different types of pillowcases to choose from. Learn more about which pillow covers will be best for you. 


Cotton pillowcases

Cotton pillowcases are the most common and cotton is also a widely used fabric for sheets. Cotton is made of natural fabric and is very breathable for those who run hot. 100% cotton pillowcases usually have a looser weave that allows air to flow through and are naturally moisture-wicking. Of course, you should always check the thread count of the cotton pillow covers before you buy them. Cotton has a natural texture that gives you a cool feeling against your skin all year round, so you’ll have a nice crisp cool side of the pillow. 


Since it's a natural fiber, cotton is a good option for those with sensitive skin or who have allergies because the fabric won’t irritate the skin. Plus, these pillowcases are very easy to care for and do not require much to maintain. 


Silk pillowcases

The silk pillowcase is one of the classic types of pillowcases made from a natural fiber that is very tightly woven with an incredibly shiny finish that can help with frizzy hair. They are ultra-luxurious and expensive because the fabric is difficult to harvest. The tight weave makes the silk pillowcase less than ideal for hot sleepers because the fabric doesn't allow air to move through it easily. Silk pillowcases might be soft and can even make your skin feel smoother. Since silk pillowcases retain moisture your skin will feel great. The same goes with satin pillowcases, which are a blend designed to mimic silk. 


Satin pillowcases

Satin and silk pillowcases are sometimes confused but satin pillowcases are made from synthetic fabric. Sometimes you might find a satin pillowcase that is woven with silk, but usually, satin is woven with synthetic fabrics like nylon or polyester. Satin has a silky feel and is also good for those with curly or frizzy hair. 


Microfiber pillowcases

Microfiber keeps you cool by wicking moisture throughout the night. You can find microfiber pillowcases in many colors and sizes. They are made from fine synthetic polyester fibers that feel even softer than cotton. Microfiber pillowcases typically have a very soft feel and they don’t change their smoothness after washing like natural fibers. They are highly durable and wrinkle-resistant, making these pillowcases super smooth without ironing. Microfiber is the best fabric for pillowcases and sheet sets because they are comfortable and affordable and are one of the most popular fabrics. 


Polyester pillowcases

This fabric is usually made with a blend of other fabrics to mimic cotton synthetic pillowcases. You can find polyester pillowcases in most stores, but they aren’t very luxurious. Cotton and polyester prices have been on a steady decline according to the World Trade Organization making them a budget-friendly choice. Polyester pillowcases aren’t great in hot environments or for use in outdoor areas.


Flannel pillowcases

Flannel pillowcases are made from wool or cotton. The fabric is brushed on one side to create a nap that feels soft but tends to trap more heat than other pillowcases. It's best to break out a set of high-quality flannel pillowcases in the winter. 


How often should I wash my pillowcase?

Washing your pillowcase regularly is crucial for health and hygiene. Since your face makes contact with the fabric for 8 hours a night, there is a big chance that your face oil and dead skin are left behind. This is good news for your pillow though because it has a pillowcase to protect it. Wash the pillowcases every week to maintain healthy skin and fresh bedding. 

Our recommendations for the best pillowcase sets:


At Mellanni, we have several options if you are looking for new pillowcases or bedding. 


1800 Collection Microfiber Pillowcases


We set out to create some of the most comfortable and luxurious hotel sheets you can find on the market, and we're convinced that these fit the bill. The ultra-softness of these sheets means you'll sleep better and wake up each morning feeling refreshed and full of energy.

Highest quality

Made of the highest quality microfiber and workmanship so you know they are built to last. Hot sleepers love the fresh feeling night after night.

Lots of size options

This collection of pillowcases comes in a wide variety of settings and sizes. We usually recommend the classic set of two or 4-piece Pillowcase Set. If you have a body pillow, try the 1800 Collection Microfiber Body Pillow Case. For your shams, opt for the 1800 Collection Microfiber Pillow Shams Set


Mulberry Silk Pillowcase

Want to wake up with a good hair day every day? Try the Mulberry Slik Pillowcase and lay your head on pure luxury:

For the hair

Fight frizzy and end breakage with the pillowcase. Other fabrics are rough on the weak strands of hair and cause them to become damaged over time. This pillowcase always keeps moisture in to keep your hair smooth and shiny.

 For the skin

Silk pillowcases can help reduce fine lines and sleep lines caused by sleeping on your face. They also help to prevent moisture from leaving the skin so you wake up with soft glowing skin. 


Toddler Pillowcase Set

Looking for pillowcases designed with the kids in mind? Get the Toddler Pillowcase set!

Envelope design 

The closure on the back of the pillowcase provides stability and security. This pillowcase provided the perfect fit that stays put. 

Highest quality brushed microfiber 

Built to last with top-quality workmanship, so you know it is safe for your little ones. Plus they are hypoallergenic and minimize unwanted allergens.


Final thoughts

In summary, the right pillowcase for you will depend on your preferences for certain qualities.

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